Meet Our Board: 10 Questions with Patti Peeples

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About Patti Peeples, RPh, PhD

Dr. Patti Peeples is a health economist, researcher, and pharmacist with 30 years of experience in healthcare. She is Founder and CEO of HealthEconomics.Com, the global CONNECTED COMMUNITY™ for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR). She also serves as Principal Researcher at HE Institute™, a healthcare strategy group. Dr. Peeples is an internationally-known speaker and has authored more than 100 publications on cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions. She has served in senior positions in Medical Affairs, Health Outcomes, and Marketing with various healthcare organizations, including Novartis and Xcenda. 

Dr. Peeples volunteers time on multiple clinical journal Editorial Boards, including the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy and the Journal of Clinical Pathways. She is also is a Board of Grants member of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Dr. Peeples holds a PhD in Health Economics from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Marketing, and a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Mississippi. Her passions are connecting young people to nature, multi-week bicycle trips in foreign countries, and a desire to live tiny. She is mom to twin 18-year-old young men, Mitch and Zach, who were born extremely prematurely and who helped re-orient Dr. Peeple's thinking about healthcare delivery and access in the United States.

What attracted you to be on the Board of Y4C?

Yoga 4 Change is a local non-profit organization led by a visionary leader, Kathryn Thomas, who created a service that had the possibility to effect enormous change on our most vulnerable in society, in a way that was scalable beyond the local Jacksonville area. I wanted to be part of that effort to bring positive change, here and beyond North Florida.

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What do you bring to the organization - given your experience in pharma and the healthcare industry?

Yoga 4 Change’s mission and my professional focus intersect at two words: “improved outcomes”. The audiences served by Yoga 4 Change (e.g., incarcerated, substance abuse, vulnerable youth, and veterans) suffer from enormous deteriorations in physical and mental health. The economic toll from trauma-created mental and physical health declines is vast, and affects the community, family, health care system, and individual. 

We can improve these adverse outcomes through a novel, low-cost, healthy way of treating trauma developed by Yoga 4 Change that incorporates physical movement with thematic teachings in forgiveness, self-acceptance, vulnerability, and more. Yoga 4 Change had preliminary data showing substantial and statistically significant improvements in cardiovascular outcomes (blood pressure, pulse rate) and mental health (stress and mood ratings) amongst those participating in Yoga 4 Change classes.

And, as mentioned, health outcomes research is my professional area of focus. I’ve spent 30 years researching the cost-effectiveness of interventions. I believed that Yoga 4 Change offers a unique and extremely cost-effective way to improve the mental and physical health of our community. I want to be part of that effort.

What do you see as the greatest impact Y4C has on the community?

Reconnection. What do I mean by this? I think the curriculum of Y4C reconnects the individual with a sense of purpose, reconnects them with ownership of their future, reconnects them to positive self-image and self-worth, and reconnects them to their unique and positive place in this world.  

What did you think (or what assumptions did you have) about the organization, and have any of them changed since being on the board?

I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I had no idea that a non-profit was run with such high-level business principals, with attention to financial metrics, organizational mission, legal responsibilities, key performance indicators, marketing, and staffing! I have spent the majority of my career in large organizations or running a small business, and I have been incredibly impressed at the high level of business acumen on the Board of Directors and from our Executive Director at Yoga 4 Change. I’m humbled to part of this group. I can only hope that other non-profits are run with such capability and clarity of intent.

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What do you see is the organizations biggest asset?

No question, the greatest asset is the core deliverable of the organization: a curriculum of trauma-informed yoga intervention that truly works to improve mental and physical health, cost-effectively.

The more this program is used, the greater the impact: that is, the more a single individual uses it, the greater they as an individual improve; moreover, the more it is used across wide numbers of individuals, the greater the impact breadth. One doesn’t often see that kind of result from an intervention where you get both depth and breadth of impact with greater use.

Where do you see the organization growing?

Yoga 4 Change is striving to expand its footprint beyond the North Florida region to the entire state of Florida, then nationwide, and globally. I am very excited about the scalability potential. I can’t wait to see where this organization is in 3 years!

What is the greatest accomplishment the organization achieved since you joined the board?

Yoga 4 Change was the recipient of a large $50,000+ grant from The Chartrand Foundation and working with an esteemed researcher at Boston University, Dr. Danielle Rousseau, to conduct a multi-site evaluation study in Correctional Facilities throughout North Florida. This evaluation will provide some additional evidence of program effectiveness across multiple study groups of incarcerated individuals who are sentenced to Yoga 4 Change Trauma-Informed Curriculum, compared with those who do not partake in Y4C classes. 

Another accomplishment is the finalization of the data demonstrating statistically significant improvements in cardiovascular and mental health outcomes from Y4C curriculum, based on project analysis by the University of North Florida’s Data Science for Social Good. We hope to publish these results in a peer-reviewed journal soon, and I believe this will be a watershed moment for this non-profit to have their outcomes published in a high-level scientific journal.

Where is one area of growth for the organization?

The opioid epidemic is at crisis proportions across the United States, and in particular, here in our home state of Florida. Yoga 4 Change has an innovative, low-cost, Change Recovery Focused Program specific for substance abuse to help support current opioid abuse treatment, reduce addictive behaviors, support strategies for prevention, and offer former students unique opportunities for yoga teacher training and employment.   I think this is a time-critical public health mandate, and Yoga 4 Change is an organization with a cost-effective potential solution for the opioid crisis.

If money was not an issue, where would you like to see the organization focus in the future?

I’m focused on process and outcomes, so I would fund extensive research that evaluates the most optimized, scalable approach to delivering Y4C curriculum to various groups of high-risk individuals, by assessing a full range of short- and long-term health impacts. I’d like to partner with a major health system like The Mayo Clinic or Baptist or BlueCross BlueShield to enroll patients in the Y4C program to see if we can effect positive community change by reducing healthcare costs and improving health outcomes like heart attack rates, hypertension, mental health service use, use of sick days, and others.

If you could tell the community one thing about Y4C, something that you feel is misunderstood, what would it be and how would you like to have it explained?

This is not just yoga. It’s a process – USING YOGA – that helps students reconstruct their thinking so they can focus on how to move through their past and start contributing back to society. 

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Thank you for reading. If you found this information beneficial, please consider making a sustainable donation to Yoga 4 Change.  Your donation is used to support our core programs and helps us fulfill our mission. Please click below to donate online.  You can make a one time or reoccurring tax deductible contribution. 

Patrick Fisher